SUNSET BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – A 37-year-old man drowned while swimming in the ocean at Sunset Beach Thursday afternoon.
According to a spokesperson with the Sunset Beach Fire Department, crews were alerted around 2:40 p.m. that a man was struggling to swim while 75 yards off-shore, near the 32nd Street beach access.
Bystanders had already pulled the man back onto the shore and were performing CPR as emergency personnel arrived at the scene.
He was later pronounced dead, the spokesperson said. The man’s identity was not provided
It’s not clear if the man was caught in a rip current, but first responders said it is very likely with how rough the waters have been with Hurricane Sam out at sea.
“There’s a big powerful hurricane off the coast, it’s not going to directly impact us weather wise, but it’s going to create strong currents, waves, increased risk for rip currents,” said Paul Hasenmeier, Fire Chief for Sunset Beach Fire Department.
Officials are urging swimmers to be extra cautious if going out in the water because there are no flags up this time of year warning beachgoers about the dangerous currents. “Anybody going to the beach needs to be aware of the increased hazard that they’re going to be faced with if they get in the water,” Hasenmeier said.
“When you’re going to the beach know about long shore currents, rip currents, even if it’s not a rough day, there can still be rip currents that pop up. Watch out for each other, watch your young kids, stay away from the piers . . . because the currents change. Just be aware of your surroundings,” Hasenmeier said.
For more safety information about rip currents, click here.
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